Abebe Bikila 1960, 64& Feyisa Lilesa 2016


Monday, August 31, 2015

Kenya was king, but there are 12 big things we learnt about Africa at Beijing World Athletics Championships | Mail & Guardian Africa

Kenya was king, but there are 12 big things we learnt about Africa at Beijing World Athletics Championships

Ethiopia may have a case of sports ‘gene elitism’. Nigeria surprised with 82% of its squad being female athletes. West Africa in decline?
The men's 10,000m race underway at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015. Africa has made a statement. (GettyImages)
The men's 10,000m race underway at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015. Africa has made a statement. (GettyImages)
THE World Championships, which attracted 1,933 athletes in 47 events, just closed in Beijing, China, with perhaps an unexpected country top of the pile—Kenya. 
It is the first time an African country has led the medal table at the end of a major international athletics meeting. It is also a story of great consistency by the East African nation— in only the inaugural championships in 1983 in Finland did the country fail to pick up at least a gold medal. It is also the third most successful country in the games 32-year history, after the US and Russia, with 50 gold medals and 128 overall.
An eye-catching performance however way you look at it, but the games revealed a bigger story about Africa itself. We trawled through IAAF numbers for some more facts around the continent’s participation in the prestigious biennial world championships, and there were many revelations:
1: Kenya learning to mix it up
LOTS of studies have been done on Kenya’s star distance runners, with their high altitude training camps regularly drawing in icons like Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah as they seek to learn the secret. Kenya’s haul consisted of seven golds, six silver and three bronze.The usual staples were there—the 3,000m steeplechase was for example won with embarrassing ease. 
But it was the spectacular win at the atypical events such as the javelin (by Julius Yego, an athlete who learnt the basics from watching YouTube videos) and the 400m hurdles that had everyone scratching their heads. As the oil-rich economies have quickly found out, diversification is key. It would seem, perhaps for reasons of a different political and economic structure, Kenya is diversifying away from its the long and middle distance domain faster than neighbour and sports rival Ethiopia.
2: Ethiopia may have a case of ‘gene elitism’
When an Ethiopian named Dibaba was not winning a race, then genes were playing their role. Mare Dibabe won the women’s marathon gold, while Genzebe Dibaba flattened the field on her way to the 1,500m gold. For Genzebe, it runs in the family—she is the sister of the legendary three times Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba, and of Olympic silver medallist Ejegayehu Dibaba. She is also a cousin of Olympic champion Derartu Tulu. 
The former world champion over the 1,500m, Abeba Aregawi, is married to Yeman Tsegay, who last week won silver in the marathon. Tight athletics ties are not an oddity in Ethiopia: Tirunesh is married to two-time Olympic silver medallist Sileshi Sihine. The world should very afraid - and athletics will be overjoyed - when their children come of running age.

Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba wins the final of the women’s marathon athletics event. AFP
3: Nigerians—and West Africans— are slowing down
West Africans are renowned for their sprint prowess, but the region failed to bag a medal of any colour at Beijing and improve on Nigerian Blessing Okagbare’s silver over the long jump and gold in the 200m at the 2013 Worlds in Russia. It has been a steep decline—you have to go back to 1999 in Sevilla, Spain when Nigeria last won a medal at a world championship—the silver in the women’s 100m hurdles, and the bronze in the men’s 200m. 
Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahouré’s pair of silvers in the 100m and 200m in Russia 2009 had raised hope of the return of the era of Senegal’s Amy Thiam’s 2001 gold in the women’s 400m, and Nigeria’s Glory Alozie and Francis Obikwelu, and of the country’s great relay teams of the later 1990s. It was not to be. It could be because the region is investing its energies in football, where it producing global stars faster than elite clubs can hire. It is also showing strong growth in basketball - along with Lusophone southern Africa.
4: But South Africa looks to become a sprint force
Wayne Van Niekerk’s scorching run in the 400m was one for the neutrals, as he shocked favourites Kirani James  of Grenada and LaShawn Merritt of the the United States. A bronze medal in the men’s 200m also shone a spotlight on South Africa’s short-distance ability, while in 2011, two medals in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay showed  their evolution from the middle distance, when they won both golds in the 800m in Berlin 2009. In 2001, South Africa run away with the 4x100m relay gold. Southern Africa has always had sprinting promise—think Namibia’s Frank Fredericks and Samuel Matete of Zambia. It may all be coming back.
However, just in terms of the range of athletic events, including the jumps, South Africa is several lengths ahead of the rest of the continent. If it can stay the course, get a handle on its social upheavals, and get back to acting like the continent’s richest economy that it is, it appears South Africa is in course to having the kind of across-the-board depth in athletics that countries like the USA were once famous for.
5: North Africa is really having the blues
This year, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco did win medals in Beijing—but none was a gold. Last time out in 2013 in Russia, no country from North Africa ascended to the podium, while in 2011 only Tunisia represented with one silver. A country from the region, (Morocco, home to the great Hicham El Gerrouj), last won a gold medal in 2005.
Clearly North Africa is rebooting, as it seeks a post-Arab Spring order in the face of rising extremist violence.  However Libya, where young people are escaping the wars between its myriad of factions in the cities, to do 4-wheel drive races might give us a pointer. From North Africa, we shall get a lot of adrenalin-fuelled sporting in the years to come.
6: There’s something sporting happening in Eritrea
The headlines are rarely kind to the Horn of Africa country, but last month it made history when two Eritreans became part of the first-ever African team to take part in the world’s most famous cycling race, the Tour de France, in what officials said was an “incredible day, one of the most important in the history of Eritrea and one all Eritreans will remember.” This past week Eritrea went one better—teenager Ghirmay Ghebreslassie—unexpectedly run away with the marathon gold, giving the country its first ever gold medal, and second overall after Tadesse Zersenay’s silver in the 10,000m in 2009. Ghirmay also became the youngest ever world marathon winner.
Cycling and marathon have one thing in common. They are both a team, but also,  individual and lonely, endurance sports that, in Eritrea, seem to be profiting from the brooding and introspection that an iron-fisted dictatorship breeds.
7:  Countries battling conflict want to go fast
Almost every country that has experienced recent conflict around Africa has tended to field candidates in the sprint races. The Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, and Sierra Leone all entered athletes in the 400m race and lower. Indeed, eight of those countries had only one athlete each in Beijing, and they were all entered in the 100m race. 
8: Geography always has its say: part I
The territorrially smaller countries also tended to have at least an athlete running in the sprint races—a list that counts nations such as Liberia, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, The Gambia, Togo and Lesotho. An additional observation is that the Indian Ocean islands of rich Mauritius and Seychelles field just a single athlete each, and only in the field events of triple jump and high jump respectively. 
9: Geography always has its say: part II
The long distance events tended to attract African countries that are home to huge swathes of arid or desert-like conditions, which present endurance challenges. This is especially seen in North Africa and the Horn of Africa countries such as Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia where the bulk of entrants were in the 5,000m, the 10,000m and the marathon. The more greener countries largely attracted quicker athletes. It seems the athletes from the arid and desert African countries take after the animal that succeeds best in these environments - the camel!
10: Rise of the one-man squad
While some countries like Gabon were a no-show, some 27 countries, or half of the continent, entered just one athlete, contrasting with Kenya, which took the largest contingent of 52,  Ethiopia 41 and South Africa 35. These single-competitor countries were mainly smaller nations, but the bigger and resource-rich ones of Angola, DRC, Libya, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal also had just one representative. 
11: What a man can do…
Some 27 countries—or half to the continent’s nations—carried teams to Beijing that did not have even a single woman. Given a significant number of countries entered one athlete only, this was perhaps inevitable, but some countries stood out—Botswana’s seven-member team was all male, while just a fifth of South Africa’s 35-strong squad were women. A notable departure from this was Nigeria, which took a 17-strong squad. Fourteen - or 82% - were women, nearly all sprinters.
12: Return on medals
Making an exception for those countries that did not pick up a single medal, Egypt had the lowest return on medals for its population, with only one picked up for its 82 million people. Uganda (1 for 37.6 million), Morocco (one for 33 million), South Africa (one medal per every 17.6 million population) and Ethiopia (one medal for every 11.7 million people) round out the five countries most under-represented on the podium. So, there, go figure

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ethiopian Almaz Ayana Beijing 2015 women 5000m final | iaaf.org

Almaz Ayana after winning the 5000m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

5000m medallists Almaz Ayana, Genzebe Dibaba and Senbere Teferi at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

How do you solve a problem like beating Genzebe Dibaba in the 5000m?
Easy – just run the final 3000m in 8:19.92.
Easier said than done, of course, as no woman has managed to defeat Dibaba this year. She has broken world records indoors and out, dominated the IAAF Diamond League circuit and looked invincible when winning gold in the 1500m earlier in the week.
But her fifth race of the championships proved to be one run too many, because when world leader Almaz Ayana made her move, Dibaba was unable to respond.
As is often the case in major championship distance races, Japanese athletes led during the opening stages. Misaki Onishi took the field through 1000m in 3:01.65 and then team-mate Ayuko Suzuki led as the field passed 2000m in 6:06.27 with the first 10 athletes running in single file.
It was then that Ayana made her move.
She hit the front and was immediately followed by Dibaba. Another lap later, it was still the Ethiopian duo out in front with a gap to Kenya’s Mercy Cherono in third. Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi and Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot were further back, having broken away from the rest of the chasers.
Ayana reached 3000m in 8:55.63, having covered the previous kilometre in 2:48.71, and was starting to pull away from Dibaba – a sight previously unseen anywhere in the world this year.
And just when the moments of self-doubt were starting to creep in for Dibaba, Ayana ratcheted up the pace. She churned out a 2:43.62 kilometre to reach the 4000m point in 11:39.25, more than five seconds ahead of Dibaba. Further down the field, Teferi and Kibiwot had caught Cherono.
Ayana continued to pull away from Dibaba on the last two laps and was away and clear, crossing the line in a championship record of 14:26.83 with the biggest 5000m winning margin in World Championships history, having covered the final 3000m in 8:19.91.
Teferi and Kibiwot were locked in their own private battle for the medals, and in doing so they caught up with Dibaba on the home straight.
Dibaba tried to dig in to salvage at least a silver, but Teferi – running on fresher legs – caught her just before the line to take silver in 14:44.07, just 0.07 ahead of a disappointed Dibaba. It was Ethiopia’s second medal sweep in this event at the IAAF World Championships, having filled the top four places in Helsinki in 2005.
Behind the Ethiopian trio, Kenyan athletes covered the next four spots. Kibiwot was fourth in 14:46.16 ahead of her more favoured compatriot Mercy Cherono, who ran 15:01.36. Janet Kisa and Irene Cheptai followed in 15:02.68 and 15:03.41 respectively.
Susan Kuijken of the Netherlands completed the top eight with her time of 15:08.00.

Ethiopian Mare Dibaba World Championship Beijing Marathon Gold 2015

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Doping Crisis Among Kenyan Athletes

Kenya has always been known for the prowess its runners showcase on the field and track. But the world questioned their talent, and the country’s reputation, when Mathew Kisorio and 19 other high profile runners were found guilty of doping By Anthony Aisi and Eric Akasa

Since the 1960s, Kenya has consistently had more record holders and Olympic medalists in long distance running than any other country.
Red dust swirls around Mathew Kisorio’s feet as they strike the ground. Sweat is plunging down his face and darkening the grey T-shirt he is wearing. Although this is his seventh lap around the expansive field, his breathing is steady, steps are nimble and eyes focused in front of him. For six years, while based in Nairobi, everyday Kisorio would wake up at 4:30 a.m. and, after having breakfast, head out to the track with his coach Claudio Berardelli to run 15 miles.
This is how Kenya’s former world cross country team captain began his mornings until 2012 when he tested positive for using performance enhancing drugs. The charges headlined local and international news, as Kisorio became one of the country’s most high-profile athletes to test positive for using steroids. Not only was he banned from competing but his coach and his agent severed all ties; his fellow competitors wanted nothing to do with him; and he was forced to give back the KSH 50 million he had earned over his career.
Since the 25 year old’s suspension from competing two years ago, 19 more Kenyan runners have been accused of doping, raising a number of questions about the country’s most respected sport. Is Kisorio’s story representative of the larger running culture? Will Kenya be able to regain its reputation as the world’s fastest country?

Running into History

Since the 1960s, Kenya has consistently had more record holders and Olympic medalists in long distance running than any other country. The high altitude training and insatiable thirst for winning has catapulted its athletes to break world records. Charles Kipkoech, who has been an athletic coach for the past 15 years, explains how Kenyan athletes have managed to become so fast: Per week his male athletes run 140 miles, while females in the senior women’s team run between 90 and 100 miles. Those starting out professionally – most of who are around 17 years – average 10 miles a day. During their weekly training, they run up the hills in his training camp in Eldoret and intersperse this with workouts such as crunches, push ups and squats along the terrain which has an elevation of about 6,500 feet.
Kipkoech tells me that other coaches use similar training methods with their runners. And the training paid off at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in June this year as the country topped the athletic table with 23 medals. So far, between both indoor and outdoor races, Kenyan male runners hold 16 world records while female runners have seven. None of the 20 who failed the drug test attended the Games. “The only way to win in athletics is by training hard,” Kipkoech says. There are no shortcuts and talent alone can’t bring one medals. “It is just sad that an athlete like Kisorio should decide to use drugs. It is as if his case opened a dam and all of a sudden more athletes started doping. Once they walk into my training camp, I tell runners that if they ever think of doping they should walk out before wasting my time, and theirs.”
After the string of positive tests in the country, Athletics Kenya (AK), the track and field governing body, tried to keep the story quiet – Kenya, after all, is meant to be the trail blazer when it comes to track and field races and these charges would affect how the world views athletes from the country. But after a year of not addressing growing concerns, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stepped in in February 2014, forcing the athletic body to take action.

The Rise and Fall of Champions

For Kisorio, running is in his blood. His father was the late Some Muge, the first Kenyan to win a medal at the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Cross Country Championships in 1983, and Peter Kimeli, winner of the Brighton and Paris Marathons in 2012 and 2013, respectively, is his brother. While his natural-born talent certainly created opportunities, it also carried pressure to perform — which Kisorio did.
In his first international race in March 2007, he won the bronze medal in the junior World Cross Country Championships. Several months later, Kisorio, competing in races that were not even his strongest, won both the 5,000m and 10,000m at the African Junior Championships.
In 2008 at the World Junior Championships in Germany, he won the silver medal when he clocked in 13:11.57 minutes during the 5,000m race. Two years later Kisorio made his road-running debut at the Porto Half Marathon in Portugal. That’s when he made the decision to make this event his primary one. In September 2011 during the Philadelphia Half Marathon, Kisorio clocked 58:46 and broke the two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Haile Gebrselassie’s all-corners record. That same year, he was part of the team that won the IAAF World Cross Country Championships gold medal. And in February 2012, just months before the suspension, he won the Kagawa Muragame Half Marathon in Japan.
No matter how many competitions he dominated, though, Kisorio was never satisfied. But his aspirations vanished when he tested positive for steroids during the 2012 National Championships. “There was no way I could deny the charges,” he says, sitting on the lush grass next to the track he had just been running. “I had trained to break the world record for the half marathon and 10,000m race, but I didn’t get the chance.” Kisorio’s pressure to perform wasn’t just a product of family legacy: Sponsors, managers and trainers put their hopes in aspiring athletes, while the public scrutiny they face these days can be overwhelming. Then, of course, there is the allure of fame. Competitors like Usain Bolt have become international stars. But for runners who come from poverty, the responsibility to feed their families can be the most compelling reason of all to do whatever it takes to win.
Thirty year old Rael Kiyara was also banned from athletics when she was found guilty of doping. Growing up, her father owned a small farm where he grew maize which he sold to put Kiyara and her seven siblings through school. Unfortunately, her father could not afford to put her through college once she finished high school so, in 2006, Kiyara turned running, which had been a hobby, into a career when she joined Coach Julius Kemboi’s training camp in Iten with hopes of competing in international races.
Kiyara was a natural. Her debut race was remarkable as she won the bronze medal at the 2007 Dublin marathon. Defeating Derartu Tulu, the four-time gold medalist, Kiyara won the 2008 Madrid marathon and her performance kept getting better as her finishing time kept improving. Her next  race saw her break her personal best time when she won the Graz marathon in 2:33:04. Kiyara also broke another course record when she won the Maratona di Sant’Antonio in Padua in 2:30:19. But the athlete was not done yet. In 2010, she broke the women’s race record during the Europe marathon with a time of 2:34:28. And, even though she didn’t win a medal during the Eindhoven marathon, she shaved nearly five minutes from her personal best time and placed in fourth with a time of 2:25:23.
Kiyara became the bread winner with her first international win. The responsibility of raising her siblings shifted to her, even though her father was still farming. “The playing ground is not level anymore so you have to do whatever it takes to make it so,” an unrepentant Kiyara says. Kiyara also reveals that it is especially hard to prove doping amongst the women since most will claim that they did so unknowingly as the fertility drugs they were using contained the banned substance. The thought of winning millions of shillings at the end of a race, especially for someone like Kiyara who comes from a humble background, made her desperate to try anything as long as it would ensure she won. And, this desperation is what led Kiyara to use norandrosterone, an anabolic steroid.
“You want to break that world record,” says Kisorio who was also using norandrosterone. “When all that is over you want to be remembered for the performance you put on.” Kisorio’s mother raised him and his six siblings on her own after the sudden death of his father in 1997. The responsibility of financially taking care of the family fell on him though, when he became a professional athlete – something he was unable to do after having to return all of his prize money. With a lack of motivation and a desire to escape the public spotlight, Kisorio quit athletics after his suspension and returned to his home in Eldoret, where he became a police officer. “At the [police] station, I was busy during the day doing paperwork and going on patrol,” he says. “This helped take my mind off athletics. It made me happy to serve as an officer.”
Meanwhile, Kisorio’s younger brothers, Kimeli, the 2013 Paris Marathon winner, and Nicholas Kipchirchir, the 2013 Udine Half Marathon Bronze medalist, stepped into the role of breadwinners as cash is one of the perks that come with winning international races. But even though the two are successful athletes in their own rights, they also received backlash from their brother’s critics. “I was also ostracised,” Kimeli says.“No one came near me during training. ‘If your brother is doing drugs then you too also have to be using them’ some accused me.”

Fighting the Problem

Performance enhancers have been around since the dawn of competitive sport, dating back to the first Olympic Games in Greece from 776 to 393 BC. The word doping actually originates from a Dutch opium juice called ‘doop’ that the Greeks used to drink.
Then beginning in the early 1900s athletes began using mixtures of heroine, strychnine, caffeine and cocaine. In 1928, the IAAF became the first body to ban doping even though no tests were performed that year. The invention of synthetic hormones in the 1930s only magnified the problem by giving users an even greater advantage. Dutch cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen, who collapsed and fractured his skull during the 1960 Olympic Games, was the first athlete to die from a doping overdose. His autopsy revealed traces of the amphetamine Orcinol, which can cause a cerebrovascular disorder. This disorder affected the blood flow to his brain and caused him to collapse. Jensen’s death spurred the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to start testing athletes for enhancement drugs in 1966. But again it took another tragic death, this one of Tom Simpson during the 1967 Tour de France, to prompt a majority of athletic bodies across the globe to take the problem seriously. Even then though, performance enhancing remained prevalent, as people were reminded again during the 1988 Olympics when Ben Johnson, the 100m gold medalist, tested positive for stanzol, an anabolic steroid. And, since then, according to the Olympic Broadcasting Services, 52 more Olympians have been found guilty of doping.
In the nineties, more effective methods of drug testing were introduced, leading to a drop in the use of illegal substances. But with advances in science came new means of cheating, like blood doping, where athletes use naturally produced hormones to increase the number of red blood cells, which promotes oxygen flow to enhance endurance. So beginning in March 2004 the IAAF demanded that every country whose athletes compete internationally have a fully functioning antiantidoping agency that conducts testing.

Professor Noni Wekesa, chairman of the commission selected by Athletics Kenya (AK) to look into the rising cases of doping , had to stop the probe because of shortageof funds.
Kenya adhered to IAAF’s regulations, but it seems that athletes took advantage of AK’s response which, at first, was to deny allegations that Kenyan runners had been found with performance-enhancing drugs in their systems. In the last two decades, 20 of the 37 doping cases that have emerged amongst Kenyan runners occurred in the past year,” Ogutu Okello* an official at Riadha House revealed. “But, even with a growing list of names, AK still didn’t take action and this reluctance to take action against the athletes led to the upsurge of doping cases.” Athletics, particularly running, is a source of national pride: Kenya is infamous for both its record-breaking sprinters and marathoners. But now there is a shadow of doubt cast over the country’s accomplishments. WADA, finally getting frustrated at how Kenya was handling the mounting doping cases, stepped in. In his report at the WADA conference held in March in South Africa this year, Rodney Swiggler, the organisation’s director in Africa stated that “We have been extremely patient. Wherever these things happen, it’s our role to go in there and ask what is wrong and why people are not complying with the code,” after naming Kenya and Jamaica as the countries that have shown a rise in doping cases in the past year.
After being put on the spot by WADA, AK decided to address the problem more effectively. It appointed a commission to look into the charges and made plans to build a drug-testing centre and to utilise what is called the Athletic Biological Passport, an electronic document that contains an athlete’s performance history. The centre is useful because if an athlete’s markers change dramatically it raises a red flag for authorities. The centre should, at the moment, be up and running, but as of yet construction hasn’t even begun. In the meantime, AK will continue using the medical staff it always has to test athletes, even though its equipment isn’t as top notch as what you’d find in a testing centre. “The delay is in part a result of foot-dragging,” says Evans Bosire, head of public relations at AK. “But there is also an ongoing turf war between the IAAF and Kenyan officials, who are reluctant to hand over control of testing to outsiders.”
Professor of Law Moni Wekesa, chair of the commission appointed by AK and an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, places the blame for the drugging upsurge on the athletes’ agents. “We have left our athletes in the hands of foreigners who have free reign over the athletes when it comes to international competitions, and any drugs we found to have been used by the athletes was through the influence of the agents,” he says. But, his commission never finished its enquiry as the KSH 4.5 million it had been allocated ran out halfway through its investigations. “Out of 2,000 athletes we were only able to get samples from 100 and the government has refused to allocate more money for us to bring this issue to a close once and for all.
This goes to show lack of commitment from the Kenyan government. Also, one of the biggest problems we still face is the lack of a WADA-accredited blood testing laboratory – the nearest facility is in South Africa, which makes collecting, transporting and analysing blood samples extremely difficult.
Doctor Al Gondi is one of the few sports physicians we have in the country. Sports medicine is fairly new in Kenya and Dr. Gondi has been practicing it for the past five years. “The anabolic drugs will promote muscle building but, they will make female athletes develop facial hair, infrequent or absent periods and deeper voices. The men might become impotent, bald or develop shrunken testicles.” The athletes may also develop heart and circulatory problems, and liver abnormalities. “But athletes disregard the effects as these drugs appeal to them because they make them train longer and harder and more frequently without feeling like they are overworking themselves,” the doctor says. Kiyara reveals that getting a hold of the drugs is not a hardship. “They are sold over the counter in many chemists across Eldoret,” she discloses. But, does she think of the side effects caused by them? “That never crossed my mind,” Kiyara says. “I never asked if it had side effects; all I was thinking of was being the first person to cut through the tape at the finish line.”

Second Chances

David Okeyo, AK’s secretary general says that the centre’s construction will begin soon, even though it’s unclear who will coordinate it. Regardless, though, he insists once new practices are implemented it will prove that Kenya’s athletic prowess is a result of natural talent — not performance enhancers. “Kisorio’s confession might have painted the athletes in bad light, but we refuse to buy that negativity. We pay tribute to our athletes, who have always done us proud.” But, it only takes one bad apple to make the whole sack rotten and this might be the case with athletics in Kenya. Poverty amongst the athletes who’d do anything to win millions, lack of commitment from the government and officials who refuse to acknowledge that there is a drug use problem means that the doping crisis isn’t going to be easily resolved. And for now, although WADA stepped in, there’s no finish line in sight as we still don’t have a testing centre.

Mathew Kisorio, one of Kenya’s most high-profile athletes banned from athletics in 2012 after being found guilty of doping is back in training in hopes of winning more medals – legitimately.

“There are so many who haven’t been caught just because they are clever in the way they use the drugs,” Kiyara divulges. Even though Kiyara’s ban was lifted in July, she hasn’t gone back to training. Having lost two years, she doesn’t think she’ll go back to running again as her strongest competitors are women in their early 20s. Kisorio’s suspension was also lifted in July, giving him the opportunity to redeem himself. While he resumed training even before the sentence expired, it will be a long road back to his previous form. “I have not lost hope,” he says.“I am now training and helping my brothers and sisters who are athletes, too. Don’t forget, sprinters like Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin came back even better.” Even though he’s had numerous offers from agents, Kisorio has declined, focusing his energy toward getting back in shape. He does not deny that what he did was wrong, and surely he has suffered the consequences of his transgressions. But unlike the country’s athletic commission that remains in deadlock, Kisorio is moving forward. “I hope that others will learn from my mistakes,” he says. “I am coming back stronger than before.”

Women's 10000m FINAL Last Laps World Championships Beijing 2015

Usain Bolt & Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce wins the 100m - 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing



Tuesday, August 25, 2015




It took little more than four minutes for Genzebe Dibaba to run the full 1500m distance, but the damage was all done in the last two.
Or, more specifically, the 1:57.2 with which she covered the final 800 metres.
The opening pace was slow with USA’s Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson leading the field through the first lap in 1:17.06. Defending champion Abeba Aregawi was close behind but Dibaba was near the back. Britain’s Laura Muir moved up behind the US pair after the first 400m.
The pace continued to dawdle for the following 300 metres, but Dibaba then made her move with two laps to go.
Simpson, the 2011 world champion, got caught up amid the movement in the pack and lost one of her shoes. But Dibaba was away and gone.
She covered the penultimate lap in 57.4 but still had company in the form of Aregawi, Dawit Seyaum, European champion Sifan Hassan and Commonwealth champion Faith Kipyegon, so she kept her foot on the pedal during the next lap.
Although her pace slowed in the closing stages, her rivals were beginning to feel the effects of trying to stick with Dibaba over the previous 400 metres. One by one, their challenge began to crumble. Dibaba, meanwhile, crossed the line in 4:08.09 to win her first – and long awaited – outdoor senior global title.
Kipyegon had moved into second place with 200m to go, only for Hassan to overtake her as she came into the home straight. But the Kenyan clawed back the deficit just before the finish line to take second place in 4:08.96. Hassan held on for third in 4:09.34.
Seyaum finished fourth in 4:10.26 while Muir came through for fifth place in 4:11.48, having overtaken Aregawi on the final lap.
It may have been the slowest winning time in World Championships history, but few women over the years would have been able to stick with Dibaba on the final two laps.
And not only did Dibaba win Ethiopia’s first ever gold in the 1500m, men’s or women’s, at the World Championships, but she also became the first woman to concurrently hold world indoor and outdoor records and world indoor and outdoor titles.
Now she can turn her attention to the 5000m when she bids to make more history. Based on tonight’s form, it would take a brave person to bet against her.